A woman who speaks out online is a target simply for existing. In daring to speak on any topic -- food, technology, business -- she throws herself open to stalking and hatred, hatred directed not just at what she says but at her saying it while female. http://glutenfreegirl.com/warm-brown-rice-and-grilled-vegetable-salad/ Gluten-Free Girl, a foodie and cookbook writer who posts under her own name, has been the target of both attacks on her writing and body-policing; the body-policing has been directed at her daughter from infancy to toddlerhood. http://ittybiz.com/death-threats-online Naomi Dunford followed the same path; she was stalked by two websites (I'm betting I can name one of them) and the harassment proceeded from name-calling to sexual harassment to death threats. Notoriously, technology author http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Sierra#Controversy was driven from her profession, from public speaking, and from the Internet (she surfaced briefly recently), by death threats. (Why Wikipedia chastely calls this "Controversy" I have no idea.) And God help any woman, in any context, who dares to speak out about http://geekfeminism.org/2011/07/12/sexual-harassment-discussion-in-the-atheist-and-skeptical-communities/ sexual http://geekfeminism.org/2010/11/07/noirins-hell-of-a-time harassment.

The dangers of being a woman online are copiously documented. Many, many women choose to work under pseudonyms -- some male -- to avoid this problem. Google's response to this is the anodyne "since we can't provide completely hacker-proof pseudonyms, we won't allow them at all." Which is precisely equivalent to "Since you can't put firesteel doors on your house, you might as well not lock the doors at all." As recorded by the invaluable Andy Carvin, Eric Schmidt has just extolled his vision of the future, in which everybody should be open about who they are so that Google can associate their credit cards with their identity.

If you run the risk of being attacked because of who you are? Well, you shouldn't be online at all. Seriously. That's the answer. (Nowadays http://gawker.com/5419271/google-ceo-secrets-are-for-filthy-people "shouldn't be online" is being refined to "shouldn't use Google's services", as the bad PR from the original comment has spread.

I don't think I'm quite prepared to give up my Gmail. But all the rest of my Google data is going somewhere else.
I'll be gone in a couple of days. It's been nice chatting with a lot of you; at the beginning I thought I was going to have a lot of fun here.
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